MIGHTY HISTORY

10 rarely seen photos from the Spanish-American War

It's one of those easily forgotten conflicts in U.S. history. It only lasted a few months, and it's sandwiched between the Civil War and World War II.

The Spanish-American War started after the USS Maine suddenly exploded in Havana Harbor in February 1898, an incident that was later found to be caused by faulty ship design but was blamed, at the time, on a Spanish mine. The resulting war was focused on Cuba, but the growing American military contested Spain across its empire, resulting in combat from the Atlantic to Pacific.


Here are 10 photos from the conflict:

1. U.S. troops stand in formation in 1898. During the Spanish-American War, the U.S. military was smaller than its Spanish rival, but was better equipped with more modern weapons, ships, and tactics.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

2. American troops train on a firing line in Tampa, Florida, in 1898. Spain was at a serious disadvantage in the fighting because it was already hard-pressed to maintain its empire against multiple rebellions in places like Cuba and the Philippines.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

3. Army soldiers drill in Tampa in 1898. While the Navy had been well-prepared for conflict, the Army had to quickly purchase the supplies necessary to wage war in Guam, the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

4. U.S. troops fight in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. The U.S. had only about 30,000 land troops when the war began, but about 50,000 more were called up from National Guards or recruited.

(U.S. Army Signal Corps)

5. U.S. troops in Cuba before the Siege of Santiago in July 1898, one of the last engagements of the fighting in Cuba. While Spain had an obvious advantage in forces and territories at the start of the war in April, America was able to quickly win it, resulting in an August treaty just three months later.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

6. American troops pose with a hand-cranked Gatling Gun. What U.S. troops lacked in numbers, they made up for with technology and tactics while the Spanish troops were hamstrung by rebels.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

7. A horse is lowered into a waiting vessel during the war. Cavalry was important in a few battles. Col. Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt had resigned from his position as assistant secretary of the Navy in order to lead a cavalry unit during the war.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

8. Troops enjoy a little boxing during some downtime. American forces were ostensibly fighting to help Cuba achieve its independence, and Congress approved the deployments with an amendment that barred the U.S. from occupying the island after the war, the U.S. would occupy other islands after the fighting, and would gain permanent possession.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

9. U.S. troops in trenches during the war. The fighting took place 34 years after the Civil War and was credited with helping to heal divisions left from that conflict. Four former Confederate generals even led troops during the fight.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)

10. Troops march through the brush in the war. Pictures like this, showing black and white troops, working together, helped people believe that the Civil War was behind them. One former Confederate general, Joseph Wheeler, even served as a cavalry general for U.S. forces in the war.

(U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center)